Many people do not think of walking as a dangerous activity. The Los Angeles area is incredibly urban and accessible, and a large portion of the population walks. However, pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles and California, in general, are on the rise.
In 2016, 892 pedestrians were killed on California roadways. Pedestrian fatalities account for nearly one quarter of California traffic deaths. That’s why the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is making a push for pedestrian safety.
When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle the injuries can be life-altering. No person should feel unsafe just walking around their city. If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, you need to contact a personal injury attorney.
Walking is the oldest, most basic, and beneficial form of human transportation. However, when acts of negligence or carelessness happen walkers can face devastating damage. If a vehicle collides with a pedestrian, the aftereffects can be costly and painful.
Have you been hit by a vehicle, truck, or any kind of transportation machine? It is vital that you contact a personal injury attorney. Larian Law Firm has years of experience representing victims of pedestrian accidents, we can evaluate and file a claim for your recovery.
Do not suffer a moment longer. Dial (310) 720-0505 and schedule an appointment online with Larian Law Firm.
Though any pedestrian can fall victim to a traffic accident, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released data regarding the pedestrians being most at risk.
- Teenage and young adult pedestrians (ages 15-29) are the most likely to be treated in emergency rooms for traffic-related injuries.
- About 1/3 of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents are legally intoxicated at the time of the accident.
- Children are at greater risk than adults, because they are less visible and less able to judge the distance and speed of a vehicle.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released a report for personal injuries from 2007-2013. The CDPH highlights from the data report include:
- Pedestrian fatality rates increased by 11% from 1.8 per 100,000 (2007) to 2.0 per 100,000 California residents (2013).
- Pedestrian non-fatal injury rates decreased by 13.5% from a high of 39 per 100,000 in 2007 to 32 per 100,000 in 2013.
- Most pedestrian accidents occur in fall (35%) followed by summer and winter (31%).
- One fifth (21%) of total persons killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.
There are many various causes that can result in a pedestrian accident. Normally, the fault lies with the driver when a pedestrian is struck. Additionally, sometimes the pedestrian can be considered partially at fault as well. Some causes of pedestrian accidents include:
- Drivers disregarding traffic controls;
- Driver failing to yield and increase hitting a pedestrian at a crosswalk or intersection;
- This includes when the driver has the right-of-way;
- Drivers who are under the influence;
- Driver who pass a stopped school bus;
- Driver who are distracted;
- Drivers who are speeding; and
- Drivers who disregard crosswalks.
- Pedestrian ignoring traffic controls;
- Pedestrians jaywalking in a busy area;
- Pedestrians not using designated crosswalks or intersections;
- Pedestrians who are not supervising their child; and
- Pedestrian walking on highways.
Californian Vehicle Code Ch. 5 states the pedestrian’s rights and duties.
Driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within the marked or unmarked crosswalk at any intersection.
A pedestrian has a duty of using due care for his or her safety.
- A pedestrian should not leave the curb or other place of safety.
- He or she should not walk or run in the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
- Any pedestrian should not stop or delay traffic while in a mark or unmarked crosswalk.
Driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within a marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care.
- A driver should reduce the speed of the vehicle; or
- Take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.
When a pedestrian is injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, the driver will usually be partially responsible for the damage to the pedestrian. That means that the driver will be considered the defendant or responsible party.
Normally, pedestrian cases involve a motor vehicle collision. While normally a driver will be held responsible, others may be held liable. Some possible potential defendants in a pedestrian accident case include:
- The employer of the operator of the vehicle;
- A bicyclist or other pedestrian who negligently collided with the victim;
- The owner of the property where the accident occurred;
- City, country or other public entity designed or maintained a sidewalk or crosswalk negligently; and
- A construction contractor if the injury occurred from falling materials or other hazards associated with a construction site.
A defendant may try to put the pedestrian at fault in a car accident. Insurance companies and defendants can try to shift blame onto the injured pedestrian. The responsible parties may argue that the plaintiff was jaywalking, distracted, and intoxicated and so on. An experienced personal injury attorney can advocate for the victim and fight these arguments against their claim.
Damages Recovered in a Pedestrian Accident
A negligent driver will generally be liable for injuries to a pedestrian. This applies even if the pedestrian was partially responsible for the accident. The pedestrian will be entitled to partial compensation.
The damages an injured pedestrian can recover depends on the exact nature of his or her injuries, among other factors. Commonly-awarded damages include:
- Payment of past, present, and future medical bills;
- Compensation for lost wages;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Costs of rehabilitation and/or accommodations.
Wrongful Death Claims in Fatal Pedestrian Accidents
When a pedestrian is killed by a negligent driver, the victim’s family may be entitled to damages through a wrongful death suit. The most common wrongful death plaintiffs are surviving spouses, domestic partners, and children of the deceased.
Damages are determined differently in a wrongful death case, and may include:
- Compensation for lost support that would have been provided by the deceased;
- Payment of medical expenses associated with the final injuries; and
- Funeral expenses.
Naturally, many of the key safety tips for pedestrians related to the risk factors above. For example, it is generally advised that children under the age of 10 be accompanied by an adult or older child when crossing the street.
Other tips include:
- Dress to ensure that you are visible, especially when walking on roadways at night;
- Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible, and stay on the shoulder of the road when it is necessary to walk in the street;
- Cross streets at intersections, not in the middle of the street;
- Obey all traffic signals and don’t cross against the lights;
- Don’t rely solely on right of way—look both ways and across all lanes of traffic before entering the roadway;
- Avoid distractions such as texting while walking; an inattentive pedestrian can cause an accident just as a distracted driver can; and
- Stay off the road if you’re under the influence—walking drunk may be safer than driving drunk, but getting a safe ride is your best option
Of course, pedestrians are only half of the equation when it comes to motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians. Motorists must also assume responsibility for safe driving and taking precautions to avoid pedestrians.
The same type of behaviors that put drivers at risk of colliding with other vehicles, bicyclists, and even fixed objects apply when it comes to pedestrian safety as well. Some of the most common examples include:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Driving while fatigued;
- Distracted driving, including the use of mobile devices on the road; and
- Speeding or otherwise disregarding traffic laws
Many of these risk factors present an even greater danger to pedestrians than they do to other motor vehicles. The best ways for a driver to avoid an accident involving a pedestrian include:
- Stay alert, as pedestrians may step into the road unexpectedly, or may not be visible in certain areas, such as on a curve or when you’re turning a corner;
- Observe the speed limit, stop signs, traffic lights and all other safety-related traffic regulations;
- Don’t text and drive, or engage in other activities that take your attention off the road;
- Don’t drive drunk or under the influence of drugs; and
- Slow down when pedestrians are present, or in areas where pedestrians are likely to appear.
We understand that an accident can derail your plans and throw your life into turmoil. We want to help restore your peace of mind. We’ll fight for the recovery you deserve while you focus on your recovery. The initial consultation is always free, and you aren’t responsible for any fees or cost unless we settle your case or win a verdict for you. Dial (310) 720-0505 right now or schedule an online appointment today to get started.